This week, I am not going to talk about how to putt on fast greens with varying contours or any other such tips but, instead, today I want to give you some putting stroke tips and discuss the importance of understanding your putting stroke before deciding which putter to use.
When you watch professional golfers playing to their best form, you will notice they have unconditional confidence in their putting and that starts with using the right equipment. When you watch these professionals, pay attention not just to each player’s putting stroke, but also to their posture and the type of putter they use. All these things are related and they might just be the deciding factor in who wins a particular tournament.
But before we go any further, I want you to think about how your putter path would appear from a “birds eye view”….imagine you are looking down from the top of your garage at your putting stroke!
Basic Putting Styles
There are two basic types of putting styles – yes, I know there are additional variations but this is a short post so bear with me:
A) Straight Back and Straight Through Stroke – Pendulum
B) Arc Putting Stroke
The closer you are to the ball (eyes over the ball), the more likely you’ll have a Straight Back and Straight Through arc. The further away you are from the ball, the more likely you’ll have an Arc Putting Stroke. Before you decide what type of putter you should purchase you need to determine what putting style you believe in.
For me, generally speaking, I like to see the putter path move slightly inside the target line—to square at impact—to slightly inside the target line at finish. This style of putting is often referred to as arc putting.
Straight Back and Straight Through is as simple as it sounds. The putter moves straight-back-straight-through on the target line with no rotation.
Professionals tend to favour arc putting. Why do I say that, because that is what I see week after week from the best putters on tour.
Commit Physically & Mentally
You must decide which putting style works best for you. Whatever you decide, you must be one hundred percent committed to that style of putting, both physically and mentally.
One of the quickest ways to get the putting yips is to believe you putt one way (for example, straight-back-straight-through) when in fact you are actually putting the exact opposite way (on an arc) or vice-versa. This conflict between what you believe you are doing and what you are actually doing can cause serious problems with your putter, your putting and ultimately with your score.
Putter Type To Suit Putting Stroke
If you are a straight back-straight through putter, you would likely benefit from a face-balanced putter.
If you swing the putter in an arc, you would likely benefit from a heel-toe balanced putter or a heel-weighted putter.
Here’s an easy test to tell them apart:
Balance the putter lengthwise on your finger approximately 6 inches from the putter hosel, if the putter face points straight up, then it is a face-balanced putter.
Alternatively, if the toe points diagonally down, then it’s a heel-toe balanced putter, and if the toe points straight down, it’s a heel-weighted putter.
Face-balanced putter example – Mallet putters like the Odyssey Two-Ball.
Heel-toe balanced putter example – Putters in the style of the Ping Anser and the Scotty Cameron Newport.
Heel-weighted putter example – the Wilson 8802 and the Yonex ADX putters. Like the style Phil Mickelson used when he first came on tour, he now uses a modified version made by Odyssey. Likewise, the putter that Tiger Woods is using at present is most likely a heel-weighted putter. These putters are ideal for players who stand more upright and really swing their putter on an arc. Ben Crenshaw is another classic example of this style putter.
However, if you swing on an arc but bend more from your hips, then a heel-toe balanced putter would most likely be the best fit for you.
Rory McIlroy is a great example of a player who putts with a lot of rotation and uses a putter that encourages that. On the other hand, Jason Day uses a putter that would benefit a straight back-straight through putting stroke.
Believe me, I am not saying you can’t be a good putter using a face-balanced putter with an arc stroke or a heel-weighted putter with a straight-back-straight-through stroke…..I’m talking generally and what I believe happens with the majority of golfers who putt well consistently.
That’s it for today,
Until next time….cheers!